Company urges public to prepare for potential ice, severe weather
National Grid crews are preparing for potential icy weather across large portions of the company's upstate New York service area north of Interstate 90, particularly the extreme north in the St. Lawrence and Champlain valley areas. Forecasts are calling for possible ice accumulations heavy enough to cause tree damage and the potential for extended power outages.
"Our first concern is the safety of the public and our employees," said Kenneth Daly, president, National Grid New York. "We have been preparing for this event so we can assess damage and restore service as quickly as possible, but we also want the public to be prepared."
Planning for this weekend's potential storm began earlier this week. This planning includes the following:
•Mobilizing and significantly increasing National Grid and contractor crews and equipment resources and moving them to strategic locations, particularly in northern New York.
Preparing to implement the incident command system to coordinate preparation and restoration efforts throughout the event.
•Continuous monitoring of the storm and positioning resources to best respond to storm outages.
•Opening formal communications channels with key external contacts, especially first responders.
National Grid provides a number of channels for customers to learn about service issues and interruptions during storms. Customers can receive text message alerts and updates through a free service the company offers. The company provides real time outage information at its outage central website at https://www1.nationalgridus.com/OutageCentral. There is also an app available for mobile devices.
Text the word STORM to NGRID (64743) to sign up for the service. Email alerts are also available to customers who create an online profile on the company's website. All alert services can be started and stopped at the customer's request. National Grid also provides storm and restoration updates through Facebook and Twitter.
National Grid advises customers to be prepared for service interruptions. It's a good idea to have a number of working flashlights, at least one battery-operated radio, and an extra supply of batteries in your home. A radio is a good way to stay in touch, as National Grid provides news media with timely information regarding service restoration efforts.
Also, post National Grid's emergency outage reporting number — 1-800-867-5222 — near your telephone so it will be handy if needed.
National Grid offers the following tips for customers to minimize inconvenience and maximize safety in the event that storm-related power interruptions do occur.
•Never touch downed power lines, and always assume that any fallen lines are live electric wires. If you see one, report it immediately to National Grid or your local emergency response organization.
•If you use a generator to supply power during an outage, be sure to only operate it outdoors. Before operating generators, be sure to disconnect from National Grid's system by shutting off the main breaker located in the electric service panel. Failure to do this could jeopardize crew safety.
•If you lose power, turn off any appliances that were on when the power went off, but leave one light on so you will know when power is restored.
•Power problems can sometimes interrupt public water supply systems or disable well pumps, so it's an especially good idea to keep a supply of bottled drinking water handy, as well as some canned food.
•People who depend on electric-powered life support equipment, such as a respirator, should let National Grid know. To register as a life support customer, call the company's customer service center at 1-800-642-4272.
•National Grid customers who experience outages should call National Grid's outage line at 1-800-867-5222 immediately to expedite restoration.
•Check on elderly family members, neighbors and others who may need assistance during an outage period.
Time-Tested Plan Restores Power Quickly
When a power outage occurs in your neighborhood, it may in fact be affecting thousands of customers. How do we get customers back on line?
National Grid emergency crews follow a time-tested plan to begin restoring service as safely and quickly as conditions allow. Accurate damage surveys, resource assessments and restoration estimates are critical in the preliminary stages of any major weather event. National Grid crews perform damage surveys as soon as possible during and after the weather-related incidents following established safety guidelines. Credible and consistent communication with local public officials and the media is maintained throughout the duration of the restoration effort by in-person updates between National Grid personnel and state and local officials, regular media updates, and updates to outage central.
As damage assessments are underway, crews clear away hazards such as live, downed lines. The cleanup of storm-damaged trees and branches removed from electric facilities remains the responsibility of the customer or property owner, whether private or municipal.
Next come repairs to main transmission facilities, including towers, poles and high-tension wires that deliver power from generating plants. Recovery work at local substations is also a high priority, because power flows from transmission lines through substations on its way to customers.
Circuits and transformers in neighborhoods and the wires that connect them to your home come next - starting with areas that involve the most customers. While waiting for your power to return, know that National Grid crews are doing everything they can to restore electric service as quickly as possible.
For more information, visit www.nationalgridus.com.